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OSHGroup 031: Simple Circuits – An Open Source Hardware Analog Arsenal

MICROPHONEcomparator

I wonder if this has happened to you. You see an awesome project online and you think “I am going to make that rad thing-a-ma-jig”.  It looks easy after all, and if that 5th grader and his dad did it, then darn it – so can I.

So you pull out your trusty microcontroller and think – what do I really need to make this happen?  You start sketching out your thoughts (because the 5th grader is horrible at documentation) and you quickly realize that you will need to have other circuits do some work.  Analog circuits.

So you pull out your trusty reference – the internet – and start searching around for solutions – you find something you think will work and bread board it up.  Nothing happens.  You remind yourself that failure is the key to learning, but the circuit still isn’t working.  You try another reference from a string of posts the first of which was written in 1998  - do some rewiring – nothing happens – maybe a little smoke if you are lucky.  Finally you get something working – hooray!  It wasn’t cosmic rays after all.

There is a simpler way.

Or at least Roy and Shawn of SimpleCircuits would have you believe so.  They are developing an Open Source Hardware tool kit of simple circuit boards that embody common analog solutions.  It is an analog arsenal.

If you want to switch higher voltages, hook up a microphone or trigger at high speeds they have all types of SimpleCircuits that reduce a schematic like this:

Microphone-schematic-picture

To a schematic like this:

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Its not just about making things easier, but making things faster.  Roy found that he was consistently reusing common analog designs for his customers, so he put together some boards for his own use.  Quickly he found they were handy and some friends thought they might like some too. After listening to Roy and Shawn, you will be sure they are two sincere and cool guys trying to make your electrical life simpler also.

Listen to the show to learn more about this project and make sure to check out the SimpleCircuits KickStarter campaign.

 

P.S.  SimpleCircuits circuit boards ship with Velcro, instructions are printed on the board, and in many cases the shape of the board makes intuitive sense.  Simple to use.